MANILA – In light of the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the island of Luzon, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday echoed the appeal of local officials, civic organizations and entrepreneurs for government to also provide aid to middle class Filipino families that comprise a big portion of those affected by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis.
“Marami pong Pilipino na hindi kasama sa poorest of the poor pero kailangan rin ng tulong. Ito ang mga may trabaho pero apektado ang operasyon ng negosyo o ng mga employers nila. Dapat matulungan lahat ng apektado na malampasan ang krisis na ito,” Go said in a press statement.
(There are many Filipinos that don’t belong to the poorest of the poor but also need help. These are the employed but whose business operation, or their employers, are affected. All those affected should be helped in overcoming this crisis.)
He said that even if some have jobs, middle class families have little savings to speak of.
The middle class also contributes a big chunk in the taxes collected by the government, and they are also the ones who sustain the country’s economy, he added.
“Mahalaga po ang papel ng middle class sa ating bansa at ekonomiya. Kaya naman po nararapat lamang na hindi sila mapabayaan ng gobyerno sa krisis na ito (The middle class play a big role in our country and our economy. It is only right that they should not be neglected during in this time of crisis),” Go said.
Go also appealed to the private sector, particularly big businesses, to help augment the assistance to the middle class by taking care of their respective employees and communities.
He said that while government assistance currently prioritizes those at the bottom, the poorest, most vulnerable and the displaced, the assistance gradually trickles up as the government prepares assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Securities and Exchange Commission have recently implemented the allocation of funds for assistance to local governments as well as to micro, small and medium enterprises by subsidizing the salaries of their employees who are mostly from the lower middle class.
A subsidy program for employees of SMEs that are totally or partially closed due to the crisis is also being initiated by the government.
“It is thus my hope that those on top — the rich and the big businesses — will continue to meet us halfway by keeping on augmenting the aid coming from the government, as well as by taking care of their communities and employees,” Go said. (PNA)